Limerick paedophile ring arrest made in north Kerry town

Simon Brouder

A man arrested in north Kerry as part of the Garda investigation into the activities of a suspected paedophile ring in west Limerick is not living in Kerry but is a regular visitor to the county, The Kerryman understands.

On Monday Gardaí arrested 11 people - six men and five men, who are all members of one extended family - in a series of raids in west Limerick, Tipperary and north Kerry.

The arrests followed a year long investigation into the activities of a large-scale paedophile ring which is suspected of sexually abusing up to 20 children in the west Limerick area in recent years.

The man arrested in Kerry does not live in the county but is a frequent visitor to a north Kerry town where he is thought to have close connections.

Garda sources have described the extent of the abuse as extreme and harrowing and said the case has the potential to be one of the most notorious in the history of the state.

The 11 suspects range in age from their 20s to the 70s and they are suspected of both abusing the children themselves and of letting strangers rape and abuse the children in exchange for cash payments.

The victims, both male and female, range in age from two-years-old to 12 years of age.

The ring is thought to have primarily operated in the greater Newcastlewest area. The abused children are from the same region and are known to the suspects.

Further arrests are anticipated with gardaí set to widen their hunt to track down other abusers who paid the family for access to the children.

The known victims have been in the care of the state for several months.

As The Kerryman went to press on Tuesday evening all 11 remained in Garda custody in Limerick, Cork and Clare under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act. They can be held without charge until Wednesday.